How to say adult in Korean

Korean for absolute beginners


by Dr. Holmer Brochlos, April 16, 2021

Ra, yushin
Korean for Absolute Beginners, 1st edition 2021
Butterfly publishing house Stuttgart
Textbook, 244 pages, paperback
ISBN 3-89657-405-1
22,00 €

Exercise book, 196 pages, paperback
ISBN 3-89657-407-8
19,80 €

MP3 download
zip: 213.2 MB
ISBN 3-89657-406-X
10,00 €

About the book

Korean is the mother tongue of around 80 million people and is therefore not quite among the TOP 10 most widely spoken languages ​​worldwide. Nevertheless, Korean has been enjoying increasing popularity as a foreign language over the past ten years, including in Germany. A trend that goes hand in hand with the increasing spread of Korean pop music, films, soap operas and online games as well as popular products from Samsung and LG, Kia and Hyundai. K-Pop in particular inspires young people to deal with the language, which sounds naturally "exotic" to German ears. Since there are only a few opportunities in Germany to learn Korean in class, self-study is the order of the day, and you need a textbook for this. And this is where the new publication “Korean for Absolute Beginners” from Schmetterling Verlag Stuttgart is a very good choice.

The current range of Korean textbooks is manageable. English is the source language for most of them, and many are fixated on learning the oral language or just tourist use at all. There is a fundamental dilemma for everyone: Scripture. Korean has its own alphabet, called Hangeul, consisting of 14 basic consonant and 10 basic vowel letters. However, these are not strung together in a linear fashion, but rather linked to form square syllable packets according to certain rules, which is why they are reminiscent of Chinese characters from a purely visual point of view. Nevertheless, Hangeul is relatively easy to learn, which is why it makes absolutely no sense to work with a (sometimes complicated) transcription in Latin letters, as some textbooks do.

“Korean for absolute beginners” consequently introduces - and as promised in the title - in lesson 1 (of 25) the Korean alphabet Hangeul. Syllable structure and pronunciation are explained in an easy-to-understand manner and supported by audio examples as MP3 downloads. The subsequent lessons then basically follow the classic structure of a language textbook, although there are some special features. First of all, there are the short introductory texts in German in every lesson, which are particularly helpful for self-study. The most important expressions are presented in a visually attractive way in speech bubbles, with a 1: 1 translation, which is very important for understanding, analogous to the Korean structure before the actual translation. Then small exercises of the newly introduced grammar and lexicon are built in. At the end of each lesson there is a Korean text, usually a dialogue in which the learning content is summarized and presented in a realistic use of language. It is positive to note here too that the translation into German is included again. Another characteristic feature is that all 25 lessons are built around a story and a protagonist, which creates a certain appeal and inspires learning. By the way, a wealth of background cultural knowledge is also communicated. The fact that the communication of the content is supported by a clear and well-arranged layout should not go unmentioned.

The accompanying exercise book impresses with a variety of exercises for the respective lessons, from simple form and sentence formation exercises to insertion, assignment and reaction exercises through to demanding text comprehension and text rendering exercises as well as translations from German into Korean. This diversity prevents boredom and promotes the learning effect immensely. Lexically, the exercises are consistently based on the material taught in the textbook, and vocabulary aids are added if necessary. The solutions are available online at, where a short grammar (e-book, pdf format; € 5.00) and a Korean-German vocabulary directory (free download) can also be purchased online as supplementary material. Due to the ideal overall concept, the textbook is ideal not only for self-study, but also for face-to-face teaching. In summary, it can be said that the textbook clearly states that the author has a KaF (Korean as a foreign language) training and that the material has been compiled in a technically sound manner.

The learning goal is to achieve the level TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) I / Level 1 in Korean, which corresponds roughly to level A1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference (GER) for languages. As a successful combination of a printed textbook set and digital material, “Korean for Absolute Beginners” offers the perfect basis for achieving this goal, including - as promised in the subtitle - “... child's play for adults”.

About the author Yushin Ra

Dr. phil. Yushin Ra is very familiar with the matter, both theoretically and practically: She has one
Graduated as a teacher for "Korean as a Foreign Language" and has been working successfully for many years
as a Korean teacher in several Berlin institutions; at a community college, in Korean
Cultural center as well as at a vocational school. She also works as a translator.

Photo: private

studied Korean and English at the Humboldt University in Berlin and has taught Korean as a foreign language at various universities in Germany and abroad for almost 40 years. He has been working at the Free University of Berlin since 2004.